NaTasha Yvette Williams is just as electrifying as she opens Some Like Hot as she is when she closes the Broadway show, and every moment in between when she is on the stage at the Shubert Theater. The theater mainstay encapsulates the role of Sweet Sue, an empowering yet strict band leader taking a group of women from Chicago to California to perform in the midst of prohibition and the 1930s. While Sweet Sue was not a main role in the famous 1959 MGM/UA feature film of the same name which starred Marilyn Monroe, the creative team made “intentional” updates to the production which brought NaTasha’s role to the ‘epicenter’ of the show. “I like to say she’s the glue of the show!” NaTasha laughed, while chatting on the HollywoodLife Podcast as part of the Tony Contenders series. “People revolve around her and she thinks she’s in control of stuff, but she’s really very dependent on the women and they sort of keep her going as well. They give to her as much as she gives to them.”
Some Like It Hot leads this year’s Tony Award nominations with a whopping 13 nods, including NaTasha for Best Actress in a Featured Role In A Musical, and for her, the recognition has been a long time coming. “It’s been a journey,” she recalled, her eyes welling up. “My first time I was in a Broadway show was 2006, and I was eligible at that time when I started the show because the Tony’s had a ‘First Replacement’ category, but by the time the Tony’s came around that year, they had done away with the category…So that was 17 years ago, and I’ve been in eight Broadway shows since, four of them original casts and four of them replacements.” The next time NaTasha was eligible, she broke her foot the night before opening and couldn’t perform. For Porgy & Bess, the competition was just too fierce and in the 2022 season, her character in her Broadway play debut ‘Chicken & Biscuits’ was too small and came in late in the show.
“It’s been a journey for me waiting and I’m always like, ‘Maybe the next one will be when I can be nominated,’ or maybe the next year or next show. So, next year finally came this year…it’s worthy of my tears, I think,” NaTasha told HL, wiping some away. Ahead of the June 11th event, the star admitted she has had an awards acceptance speech written since she was 15 years old. “I think when I turned 15, my mother and I, we perfected the speech. Up until then, we were practicing it. I would say, ‘Oh when I win my Grammy,’ or ‘when I win my Oscar…’ I don’t know that I said Tony’s a lot, because all I knew at that time was television and movies and music,” she recalled. “Anyway, we wrote a speech and I would stand up and thank my aunts and uncles and my mother would always say, ‘Oh, you have to thank all the little people!’ I remember this. That’s what my mother said. You have to thank all the little people.”
NaTasha continued, “I would say that as we would practice this speech, and I’m realizing now, as an adult, that there are so many little people that are giants… my babysitters, and people that pick up my kids or the people that help me with my lines, my husband and all of those people that my mother and I just sort of joked about and were just having this bonding time together… But these little people are so big.”
The mother of four went on to say that no matter what she “already feels like [she’s] won.” “Whether my name is called or not, really they don’t even have to call it… Just right now, with this feeling and with this realization that the things I’ve talked about for almost 50 years are coming to fruition, that’s winning. And while my mother is in heaven, I know she’s with me,” NaTasha gushed. “And I have to thank the little people at some point during this time, bwcause they’re holding me up always.”
You can see NaTasha star as Sweet Sue at the Shubert Theater in Some Like It Hot now!
NaTasha Yvette Williams is part of HollywoodLife’s Tony Contenders series, in which we interview the biggest current stars on Broadway who are in contention for the upcoming Tony Awards on June 11, 2023.